Lafarge's sales for the first Quarter 2001 amounted to 2 270 M€, down 7.4% (- 182 M€) compared to the first Quarter 2000 This is primarily due to the sale of the majority of the Specialty Product business towards the end of the last year.
This change in the scope of consolidation had a net effect of 250 M€ and on a proforma basis the Group's sales progressed by 3.1%.
Market trends, which are always difficult to discern in the first quarter due to the seasonality of sales, are particularly difficult to evaluate this year given that the very mild climatic conditions gave rise to an exceptional increase in the first Quarter 2000 of 10.6%.
The performance for the first Quarter 2001 is explained as follows:
- The underlying activity excluding foreign exchange and consolidation effects was slightly down by 1.2%.
The Cement Division achieved sales growth of 1.8% in spite of poor weather conditions having an adverse effect on sales in North America and France. Spain continued to show strong growth, however the decline in the German construction market remains ongoing. Favourable trends were experienced in the majority of emerging countries.
- Aggregates & Concrete:
The Aggregates & Concrete Division achieved sales growth of 0.3%. In North America in particular, the excellent level of activity realised in 2000 was maintained.
The Roofing Division's sales declined by 12.7%. Last year figures in Europe were inflated by the effects of the storm that swept across France. The 2001 reduction is largely a correction of this exceptional occurrence, bringing European sales back to 1999 levels. Nevertheless with the continuing decline in the German construction market the Division's German operations experienced a difficult Quarter.
The Gypsum Division registered a decline, excluding foreign exchange and consolidation effects of 2%. This was entirely due to the poor level of prices in North America. Elsewhere the Division experienced growth of 9%.
- Consolidation changes of – 6.8%
Divestments resulted in a sales reduction of 256 M€, the most significant being the divestment of the majority of the Specialty Products Division.
Recent developments generated additional sales of 84 M€. The main contributors were the acquisition by Lafarge India of Raymond Cement, the Warren business in aggregates and asphalt in Canada, and the impact of the new wallboard plants in the United States.
- Positive foreign exchange of 0.7%
|31 March 2001
|31 March 2000
|Variation||Of which activity|
|Cement||908||872||+ 4.2%||+ 1,8%|
|Aggregates & Concrete||744||701||+ 6.1%||+ 0,3%|
|Roofing||307||338||- 9.4%||- 12,7%|
|Gypsum||267||251||+ 6.3%||- 2,0%|
|Others||44||289||- 84.7%||+ 11,3%|
|Total||2 270||2 451||- 7.4%||- 1,2%|
According to Bertrand Collomb, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge
" The first quarter numbers for 2001 are consistent with the Group's full year assumptions of a slightly slower growth in our markets and reflect a favourable pricing environment overall".